In this episode

Dennis Ryan

Principle, Fetrow Ryan & Partners

What are the differences between a small advertising agency and a large advertising agency? What is independent collaboration and why should you consider it?

In this episode we sat down with Dennis Ryan, former principle of Fetrow Ryan & Partners, now CEO of Digital Kitchen, to discuss the above topics and more!

Dennis joined Digital Kitchen in 2016 to expand DK’s legacy of world-class creative work, foster a vibrant culture and further shape the agency’s compelling offering to clients.

As a creative leader, he draws from three decades of experience serving regional, national and multinational accounts, leading departments numbering from two to 200 and driving top-tier production—including more than two dozen Super Bowl appearances. Beyond his deep appreciation for craft, Dennis has shown an amazing willingness to embrace change and continually learn, adapting to new platforms while maintaining focus on fundamental ideas.

Dennis started his career as a copywriter for what is now DDB, becoming their youngest group creative director ever during his 13-year tenure. He moved to JWT to become executive creative director of their Chicago office, expanding into international work and assuming the lead of their Worldwide Creative Council. In 2001, he became a founding partner of Element 79, a startup that enjoyed a remarkable run, doubling billings in their first six years. When the digital revolution hit, Dennis moved to Minneapolis to join Olson as their first-ever chief creative officer and learn the nuances of digital project work. There he led creative across four offices, integrating brand, digital, mobile and social creative until their sale toICF International in 2014. Just prior to DK, Dennis ran a consultancy, Fetrow Ryan &Partners, with his partner, Mike Fetrow.

What you’ll learn
  • What is the difference between a small advertising agency vs a large agency.
  • What is independent collaboration?
  • Where is our industry headed?

I believe in the power of ideas. And stories.

And I know when creative people and brands hew to ideas–and stories–the work soars, whether they tell those stories through words and imagery or context and content.

I believe few agencies truly understand the difference between an idea and an execution.

I believe too many clients turn to advertising to solve problems that really lie in branding

And I also believe in ‘please,’ ‘thank you’ and laughter.

Specialties: Imagining, leading, building, cooperating, cajoling, improvising, editing, blogging, supporting, inspiring and a raft of other gerunds.

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I am a THINKER. I like to solve puzzles and crack codes. The fun part is finding a problem that needs to be solved and then doing it in a unique, smart and clever way. I am a WRITER. Expressing a vision, emotion or message to an audience is a privilege and one that should never be taken for granted. I am a NETWORKER. I believe everyone is here to help someone else. The more people you take the time to get to know is one person you can potentially help and perhaps if you’re lucky, can even help you someday. If nothing else, everyone brings something new into your life if only for a fleeting moment. I am CREATIVE. Organized chaos is my norm as I navigate my way through finding innovative ways to tackle projects. I’ve never been one to color inside the lines. I am a DOER. I like to get things done and expect that of others. I run a million miles a minute and that’s how I like it. I am a MULTI-TASKER. I usually have at least 10 different projects going at any given time. Variety is what makes life (and jobs) fun and interesting!

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